If you are interested in business news, consider subscribing to Morning Brew.
According to its website, Morning Brew is “[a] quick and quality daily e-mail newsletter for the millennial business professional – Morning Brew is the perfect read during your morning commute.”
It’s an easy, and often times entertaining, read that packs a lot of information into a series of business news briefs. I take a bit of an issue with calling the newsletter “daily,” though. It doesn’t land in my inbox every morning. Most mornings it is there, but not every morning. This isn’t including the weekends, when the Morning Brew is not produced. Even during the week, it doesn’t always appear at the promised 6:30 a.m.
I don’t know why this is the case. Perhaps it has to do with its business model. Most editions have a sponsor. It seems likely they don’t produce an edition when they don’t have a sponsor, but I could be wrong (though I would love to hear an answer from them).
The Brew was started by “Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief in 2015 when they were students at the University of Michigan,” according to TechCrunch. “The main demographics are business students and graduates, who are interested in learning more and gaining insight into the field,” according to NJTechReviews.
The audience has shifted, though. TechCrunch reported “the average reader [is] now 28-years-old working in finance, tech, or consulting.”
The entire concept of the Morning Brew is curation (you can read past editions in the archive). The staff finds the most relevant business news they can and send it out to their readers. The newsletter has gone through changes from when it first debuted, but each change seems to have been for the better.
Beyond the content, the Morning Brew presents an interesting case study in the business of journalism. I’ve written before about how I think people producing daily newsletters are onto something, especially the high school kid sending out a daily political newsletter. There was time when emails seemed like a burden and something impersonal. However, with social media being so pervasive, a person’s inbox now seems like an intimate place to connect with someone online.
News organizations, especially entrepreneurial-minded journalists, need to consider this. The email inbox can be a powerful conduit to readers.
Consider this article from Poynter‘s Benjamin Mullin: How The Washington Post is using newsletters and alerts to reach readers.
Mullin’s report said newsletters are allowing the Washington Post to create deeper engagement with their readers. A newsletter cuts through the noise of attempting to engage via social media and puts the Post’s content directly in front of the readers. The email inbox is a sacred space. I check mine constantly. Most of the time the messages are of little importance that quickly get trashed, but if I got an email from a place I specifically sought out and signed up to receive updates from, I’m going to open it and read it.
This is brilliant, especially when you consider what Mullin said:
After enough emails, the reader could engage deeper, perhaps by commenting on a story, sharing it on social media or emailing a reporter. Before long, they might pay to become a digital subscriber. Newsletters and push alerts also give The Washington Post a direct connection to readers, unmediated by platforms like Facebook or Google.
What’s more, as the article points out, email alerts often show up on the lock screen of smart phones. So now, not only is the Post gaining access to email inboxes, it is also finding its way onto the space where people look on average 46 times per day. This blows me away and shows the incredible potential for email. In a time when social media is all the rage, an “old school” method of communication seems to still be quite viable.
Of course, for it to be viable, the Post does one more thing I think is a home run — the newsletters are targeted and authored. Each newsletter concerns a specific topic and is “written by journalists with a specific audience in mind — and less on feed-based newsletters that feature a digest of popular stories,” according to Mullin. “Newsletters at their best are a separate editorial product, not some kind of clickthrough carnival barker.”
As a journalist and journalism educator, I need to explore the concept of email newsletters more fully. Everything points to it — along with my other fascination, podcasts — being a point of emphasis in the media world, at least for the near future. The Pew Research Center follows trends in the journalism industry. Obviously providing content digitally is important, but what’s very interesting is that a simple online presence isn’t enough. The big players who are digital natives (outlets that have never existed in traditional print or broadcast forms) don’t just rely on their websites. They use other methods to reach news consumers. Though they have found success in online news, they recognize the need to have a multi-pronged approach.
Jake Batsell, who is an associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, also discusses emails as a method of engagement in his book — Engaged Journalism: Connecting with Digitally Empowered News Audiences. And for journalism organizations to remain viable, they have to make deeper connections with their audiences . That is the essence of engagement, and the best way to create strong engagement is to focus on the niche. Trying to be something for everyone will only result in failure, but being everything for a few can yield positive results, such as increased revenue and reader loyalty.